The Scarlet Letter | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Scarlet Letter 

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's 19th-century novel has some remarkably contemporary themes: the clergy's hypocrisy, children born out of wedlock. Adapter-director Rebecca Zellar and the GreyZelda Theatre Group do a good job finding the drama in this rather static, meditative work. The acting is strong--Elizabeth Styles and Meredith Rae Lyons are especially good as Hester and her preternatural child, Pearl--and many of the scenes are spare and pointed. But the nuance in Hawthorne's brilliant writing gets lost. As Chillingworth, Ron Kuzava is just another mustache-twirling villain. And the romance and melodrama of the play's final scene subvert Hawthorne's spiritually complex message. Through 9/16: Thu-Sun 8 PM, Stage Left Theatre, 3408 N. Sheffield, 773-267-6293, $15.

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